What is industry 4.0 – Beginner guide

Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution, and if you have not already begun to consider what it means to you and your company, it may be time to get started.

We live in a time where digitalization is taking off. More and more products are being made “smart” with added intelligent by being equipped with small computers or sensors that can collect great amounts of data (big data). Products ranging from robotic vacuum cleaners to lightbulbs controlled through smartphones are now capable of going online (internet of things), and the data it brings can be collected (in the cloud) and subsequently analyzed. Digitalization, robots, artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT) and big data are among the trendiest buzzwords of this decade and for good reason. They are part of a new industrial revolution, which got the name: Industry 4.0. It is the fourth industrial revolution, and if you have not already begun to consider what it means to you and your company, it may be time to get started.

Digitalization

Digitalization is the backbone of Industry 4.0. now that the technologies are interconnected and begin to communicate across companies are faced with completely new opportunities: Imagine a world where robots not only take care of the heavy industry, but also take care of the elderly, makes you dinner and cuts the grass in your garden. Where everything from your phone, your clothes and your house becomes 3D-printed, and most can be delivered minutes later by a robot or a drone. And where artificial intelligence is intertwined with all the electronic gadgets, we surround ourselves with – but also part of the boardroom and perhaps even the world’s parliaments. That is what Industry 4.0 is all about.

Obviously, this leap forward also comes with some interesting challenges, which requires work to transform into opportunities. The best way to do this, is by carefully and proactively preparing for their impact. The world is changing rapidly, is hyber-linked and more complex and fragmented than ever, but we have the control to shape our future in a way that accommodates all of us and the companies we manage.

It could be argued, that the word Industry 4.0 should be used as an indicator to describe a company’s digital readiness. Hence, how ready it is to take their production to a higher level through the direct use of automation and the collection of value-creating data.

Industry 4.0 and companies

There is a lot of focus on the benefits which Industry 4.0 brings, but at the same time there is limited knowledge about what Industry 4.0 really is. For large and competent companies, it is possible to go “all-in” and create new business models by examining and implementing new technologies and digital tools, and gaining a different view of their product. On the other hand, small and medium-sized companies may have fewer opportunities due to lack of resources, however one thing is clear. There is no way around it.

Industry 4.0 has many options, and there is no direct recipe for how the concept should be perceived and put into use. Therefore, it is up to the individual companies to take the initiative and create their own Industry 4.0 strategy based on their business model and the resources they have available.

It can be a huge challenge for many SMEs to understand what Industry 4.0 is and how to use it for their own benefit. OPTIWARE’s Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Production Monitoring (OEE) products will bring your organization a step further in the Industry 4.0 transition by providing AnalyticsMobilityIntegrationSaaS and IIoT solutions that will help you work smarter and more efficient.

Smart factory

By taking the first steps and implementing Industry 4.0 initiatives in to your production, you can help save cost on many levels. When integrating the planning and scheduling of manufacturing processes for example, by combining data – from sensors all the way through to ERP systems – with information from inventory levels and product development or current market dynamics, the vertical integration takes a big step forward. Such initiatives can also increase the horizontal integration of your value chain as the shop floor planning improves asset utilization and overall productivity.

In addition, optimization of repair and maintenance schedules through the use of smart predictive algorithms can effectively reduce downtime for key assets.  OPTIWARE can help your company in the change to industry 4.0. Get started today

 

  • The first industrial revolution began in the latter part of the 18th century, with technological advancements as mass production, mining and steam engine fundamentally changing society.
  • The second industrial revolution was led by steel and electricity, which made it possible to put mass production into system. E.g. the invention of the assembly line in 1870.
  • The third industrial revolution marked a shift from the mechanical and analog technology to the digital which started in the 1970s to what we know today with information technology, electronics and automation.
  • The fourth industrial revolution is to some extent standing on the shoulders of the third. Robots now play an even greater role, especially 3D printing, artificial intelligence, big data, and genetic engineering are expected to change noticeably on our everyday lives in just a few years.